What was it that attracted you to XTEND?
The fact that I could base my Masters on projects that were part of my everyday role, without having to take time off work was the best part, and also that the outcomes of the projects were not super important (but both were very successful).
It was more about the processes and standards I developed, and that were proven to work, and can now be used again in other applications within health. It was a good process to go through, to research, document and analyse how they were developed, and to prove my rationale that this is the best way to go about running projects for greater interoperability in Health IT.
What were your two projects?
I guided the team to develop an agnostic health portal, but the project I most enjoyed was leading the development of a centralised CVD (Cardio-vascular disease) risk algorithm used to calculate the risk of a patient for CVD. I did this with an API, and it can be centralised so that any developer in NZ can use the same platform (no matter what practice management systems they develop for) rather than having 30 different iterations on the market. This is a breakthrough, and when fully implemented can be used to assess NZ'ers over the age of 35 for CVD risk. I am really proud of this, and how proving this concept may have the ability to vastly improve health IT within NZ.
How has your tech career progressed?
As a kid, I would pull things apart to investigate how they work, and have always been someone that can self learn, either from my colleagues, peers or managers or through my own investigations. I did a year of a degree in IT and was offered a tech job with an NGO, which turned into a substantial IT project management role with a large budget. I have also worked in the telecommunications industry, and as an IT consultant, both with existing companies and in my own company.
I am not a coder, I am the engineer, architecture and ideas person, and work with others to bring great ideas to light. I am passionate about the health IT scene in NZ, which will be undergoing massive changes in the coming decade. Cybersecurity is where my future work projects will lie more deeply, and I am excited about being able to make positive changes to the delivery of primary health care in NZ.
I am a big believer in the value of mentors, and have long had a business mentor. XTEND allowed me access to academic mentoring, and I also utilised my existing network of professionals to bounce ideas around. And gaining a Masters of Professional Practice with Distinction is a great way to recognise my skills and experience.
What were the biggest challenges during XTEND for you?
For me, one was translating academic requirements into my day to day work. It took a bit of getting used to, plus working within the academic research framework to prove my ideas. It was very valuable but quite different from what I had experienced working in industry. It was good to stretch myself and really develop and utilise those analytical and research skills to work more deeply, and record and refine both the projects and the processes.
Balancing time across all my life areas was also a bit tricky, but definitely do-able. I made sure not to cut into family time, but utilised my wife's TV time on a Sunday night to read and reflect, as well as the hours I seem to spend on planes! The rest was done as part of my day to day work.
What has been the benefit to you in completing XTEND?
I can use the findings from XTEND regarding the standards of interoperability that we developed, to standardise future product development within the health sector. After XTEND I have greater ability to combine my work practice with academic processes and disciplines, and this has made me more effective across my many roles.
XTEND was 100% absolutely worth doing!
What is next for you?
My work is moving more into cybersecurity, a fast-moving area that I really enjoy. I am excited about being able to make positive changes to the delivery of primary health care in NZ.